USC holds off Washington State 61-51
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Dwight Lewis barely batted an eye toward the flat screen television inside the Southern California locker room showing UCLA beat Washington, the Pac-10’s No.1 team.
He was too busy reveling in the Trojans’ win over Washington State.
Lewis scored 17 points, Taj Gibson had 16, and USC snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the Cougars 61-51 on Thursday.
“Right now, I’m still enjoying this win,” Lewis said. “I’ll probably start getting revved up for Saturday’s game tomorrow.”
Lewis was referring to USC’s matchup with No. 22 Washington. If the Trojans (16-9, 7-6 Pac-10) want to have a crack at getting into the NCAA tournament, a win over the Huskies would give them a boost.
Lewis, who sat out against Washington State in the team’s first matchup because of a sprained ankle, made a difference.
“We attacked them a little better than the last time we played them because of Lewis. He gave us an opportunity to do that,” USC coach Tim Floyd said.
USC, sixth in the Pac-10 standings, led by 14 in the second half before the Cougars went on a 17-4 run to pull within one, 45-44, with 7:33 left. But Daniel Hackett hit a jumper from the top of the key and Lewis had seven points down the stretch to give USC the win.
“We had subbed out and we had a little slippage with our reinforcements,” Floyd said. “But I thought we finished the game strong.”
Hackett added 12 points for the Trojans, who are 13-1 at home.
Taylor Rochestie scored 16 points for Washington State (13-13, 5-9). The Cougars’ leading scorer, Klay Thompson, who averages 13.3 points per game, went 0-for-5 in the first half and finished with five points.
Thompson, who attended Santa Margarita Catholic High School and grew up in Ladera Ranch, Calif., had friends and family members in the crowd but couldn’t put together a productive game. His performance was his lowest output since Dec.10 when he had four points.
“I had open shots and I didn’t hit them,” Thompson said. “I was not as patient at shooting as I needed to be.”
Caleb Forrest added 12 for Washington State, which faces UCLA on Saturday.
The Trojans took control midway through the first half with a 17-2 run. Gibson, who had six points during that span, started the rally at 14:29 when he pushed his way to the basket past DeAngelo Casto. Hackett added eight points in the run, including a fadeaway and a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
The Cougars, who have lost five of their last six, went nearly eight minutes without a basket in the first half and missed nine of their first 12 shots as USC built a 29-21 halftime lead.
“It’s hard for us to absorb when a top offensive player has an off night. We dug ourselves too deep a hole in the first half,” Washington State coach Tony Bennett said.
The Trojans also limited the Cougars’ Aron Baynes, who averages 12.1 points a game. Baynes had three touches in the first half and finished with nine points.
The 21 points nearly matched Washington State’s lowest offensive output for a half this season, which was 19 against USC. The Trojans, who have only won four of the last 12 against Washington State, won that game 46-44.
Washington State was scoreless from behind the 3-point line in the first half and went 0-for-8. In the teams’ first matchup this season, the Cougars had six treys.